Pilot Program Saves a Significant Amount of Water
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport continually strives to be green. One of the newest innovations is a pilot program that has already been integral in providing benefits to both PHX Sky Harbor and the environment by saving a significant amount of water and reducing costs.
The pilot program began in April 2010 and has been managed by PHX Sky Harbor's Facilities & Services division. Employees have worked extensively with certified water technologists from Earthwise Environmental. Earthwise proposed an ion exchange water system that pre-treats the fresh water entering the evaporative cooling systems. Aviation Supervisor III, Chet Freegard, said that this "allows the utilization of water in the system for a longer period of time while reducing calcium and scale build up on the equipment components."
Since the program was implemented, there has been a 57% water savings. According to the first water data usage that became available in June, 1,320,968 gallons of water were used, compared to 2009 when 2,300,100 gallons of water were consumed in the evaporative cooling systems in the pilot program area at Sky Harbor. This means 979,132 gallons of water were saved.
So far, this pilot program has only been implemented at the South and West Air Cargo complexes at Sky Harbor. However, the Facilities & Services division will evaluate these results for one year to decide where they might be able to implement similar measures throughout the Airport, such as in the terminals, and save millions of gallons of water.
Above, is a picture of a controller that monitors the water used and periodically conducts tests to see if treatment is needed. Also pictured are the tanks where the ion exchange takes place and a sensor that monitors the amount of water used and sends this information back to the controller where the ion exchange rate is determined.
Along with innovations like the ion exchange water system, Sky Harbor also has converted turf areas to Xeriscape landscaping using native low-water use plants.
First posted: 7/1/2010